Lepisanthes rubiginosa

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Lepisanthes rubiginosa


Shrub or small tree, up to 16 m high, dbh up to 28 cm (Forman 239 from N Celebes reported to be 30 m high with a diameter of 60 cm; from India also reported to be a fairly big tree). Branchlets terete, grooved, c. 5(-15) mm in diam., densely short-hairy when young. Leaves (2-)3-6(-9)-jugate, often with a pseudo-terminal leaflet, velvety when young; Inflorescences 25-35 (-50) cm long, densely ferrugineous tomentose; Flowers sweet-scented. Sepals orbicular-ovate, slightly concave, green when fresh, margin sometimes petaloid, ciliate, inside glabrous or with a few hairs, outer two 1.2-2.2 by 1.2-2 mm, acute, inner three 1.8-2.8 by 2-3 mm, obtuse. Petals 4 (or 5), claw 0.5-1 mm, blade 2-4 by 1.5-2.2, crenu-late in upper half, white to yellowish when fresh, long ciliate in upper part of the claw and — sparsely — in the narrowed lower part of the blade, outside with a few hairs at the base; Stamens longest abaxially; Ovary 3-lobed, 1.2-1.8 by 2-2.2 mm, densely appressed-hairy; Fruits 1-, 2-, or 3-lobed, lobes spreading, 8-13 by 7-8 mm, faintly carinate, dark purple to nearly black when ripe, subglabrous; Seeds oblong-ellipsoid, 9-11 by 4 by 4 mm, hilum basal, small.


Asia-Temperate: Hainan (Hainan present), Asia-Tropical: India present, Kwangtung present, NW Australia present, SE China present, York Sound, Brunswick Bay present, continental SE Asia present
Continental SE Asia from northern India to Indo-China and SE China (Kwangtung, Hainan), Malesia and NW Australia (York Sound, Brunswick Bay).


2n = 26: .


In India, where the trees seem to be a better size, the timber is said to be valuable, but in Malesia it is used only for firewood and sometimes (Java) for rice-pounders and tool-handles. A decoction of roots and leaves, sometimes also of fruits and seeds, is used medicinally against fever. The young leaves are eaten as a vegetable, and the astringent but sweet fruits are relished as a titbit, mainly by children. For further details see .


1. The inflorescences in the upper leaf axils are sometimes paired in which case the upper is the stronger one.
2. According to Corner (1940) the basal part of the inflorescence and of its branches bore female flowers which opened first, the more apical parts male flowers, which opened later. This is not confirmed by the study of numerous herbarium specimens. The inflorescences seem to be nearly exclusively either female, or male; in old inflorescences either (nearly) all flowers have fallen (probably male inflorescences) or there are a number of young fruits all over the inflorescence (female inflorescences; note that the infructescence, depicted by Corner, is also covered with fruits all over). Whether all inflorescences of a tree are the same, needs to be studied in the field.


Gagnep. 1950: Fl. Indo-Chine: 933: f. 116
Koord. & Valeton 1913 – In: Atlas: f. 88
Backer & Balkh. f. 1965 – In: Fl. Java: 134
Blume 1847: p. 119. – In: Rumphia: t. 166
Kanehira & Hatusi-Mal 1943 – In: Bot. Mag. Tokyo: 76
Merr. 1918: Sp. Blanc.: 238
Lecomte 1912 – In: Fl. Indo-Chine: 1019
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98: 753
Ridley 1922: p. 492. – In: Fl. Malay Penins.: f. 49
Koord. & Valeton 1903 – In: Bijdr. Booms. Java: 154
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98: 693
Steenis 1949: FlJSch. Indon.: 253
Merr. 1923 – In: Enum. Philipp. Flow. Pl.: 498
Craib 1926 – In: Fl. Siam. Enum.: 325
Hènd. 1928 – In: Gard. Bull. Str. Settl.: 243